February 21, 2023


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UKRAINE | Today is day 362 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Following yesterday’s unannounced visit to Kyiv, U.S. President Joe Biden is in Warsaw, Poland, today, where his meetings with Polish and other Eastern Europe NATO leaders are expected to center on continuing support for Ukraine. [more]
  • Speaking at a security conference in Beijing today, Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang said his country is concerned about the potential escalation of the war in Ukraine and that China is looking to play a constructive role in “easing the situation.” [more]
  • A group of 35 nations, including the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Japan, Australia, and Germany released a statement yesterday calling for the International Olympic Committee to clarify its proposal to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in the upcoming Paris Olympics. The statement contends that sport and politics are closely intertwined in Russia and Belarus and that it is unclear how those nation’s athletes could compete as so-called “neutrals.” [full statement] [more]
  • Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said yesterday that his country, in which Russian forces were staged prior to the invasion of Ukraine, is planning to form a new volunteer territorial defense force of some 100,000 to 150,000 people to respond to acts of aggression and ensure public order. [more]

SUPREME COURT | The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments today in the first of two cases to be considered this week that are centered on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields internet services from liability for material posted by users on their networks. Today's case involves the issue of whether the family of a woman killed in a Paris terrorist attack can sue Google for making content supporting extremist messages accessible via its platforms. [more]

OHIO | Reports say one person was killed, and at least 13 others injured, when an explosion occurred at a metal processing plant in Bedford, Ohio, yesterday. The cause of the explosion, which scattered debris over hundreds of yards, is under investigation. [more]

WINTER WEATHER | The U.S. National Weather Service said yesterday that a major winter storm with significant snow, sleet, freezing rain, and wind will affect large parts the U.S., particularly across the northern regions of the country, this week and that widespread travel and infrastructure impacts are expected. [more]

RUSSIA | In his long-delayed annual state-of-the-nation speech today, Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed the West, and NATO in particular, for provoking the war in Ukraine and announced that Russia is suspending its participation in the New START bilateral nuclear arms control treaty. Putin also suggested that sanctions on Russia are not having the effects intended by Western countries and that the Russian economy is strong and resilient. [more]

TURKEY AND SYRIA | A new 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck southern Turkey and northern Syria yesterday, killing at least eight people and injuring more than 200, according to reports. The new quake hit in the same general area as the larger quake two weeks ago in which more than 45,000 people died. [more]

ISRAEL AND WEST BANK | The U.N. Security Council yesterday approved a non-binding statement condemning Israel’s plans to expand its settlements in the occupied West Bank. The statement was agreed to as an alternative to a now-cancelled legally binding resolution after Israel agreed to pause settlement expansion for six months and Palestinian authorities agreed to not seek action against Israel in international bodies, such as the U.N., for the same period of time. [more]

ISRAEL | The Israeli parliament voted last night to move forward with legislation on judicial reforms proposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. Supporters of the reforms say the country’s judiciary has too much power, while critics contend the reforms would weaken Israel’s system of checks and balances. [more]

NORTH KOREA | U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said yesterday that the U.S. intends to propose a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning North Korea’s recent ballistic missile launches and calling for Pyongyang to comply with related U.N. sanctions resolutions. North Korean allies Russia and China voiced opposition to the resolution, saying what is needed is increased dialogue and a de-escalation of military exercises in the region. [more]

NIGERIA | Authorities in Nigeria’s southeastern Anambra state say at least eight police officers in the region have been killed by suspected separatists from the Indigenous People of Biafra group over the past three days. Reports say the attacks have raised concerns about security at polling stations ahead of this weekend’s presidential elections. [more]

AUSTRALIA | In a security assessment speech today, Mike Burgess, secretary-general of security at the Australian Security Intelligence Organization, says Australia is facing unprecedented threat levels of espionage and foreign interference in his country’s internal affairs. [more]

ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE | In a new report released today, the International Energy Agency says that while methane emissions are responsible for an estimated 30% of the rise in global temperatures since the Industrial Revolution, the fossil fuel industry is failing to take adequate steps to limit such emissions, despite their pledges to do so. [full report] [more]

COLLEGE BASKETBALL | As the college basketball regular season nears its end, Houston, Alabama, and Kansas lead the AP men's college basketball poll, while South Carolina, Indiana, and Stanford are atop the women’s poll. [full men’s poll] [full women’s poll]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1916, the Battle of Verdun, one of the most devastating engagements of World War I, began. [more history]

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